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Idries Shah Foundation Podcast | Practical Psychology for Today

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault.
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Idries Shah Foundation Podcast | Practical Psychology for Today
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Now displaying: 2019
Mar 26, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features a selection of Sufi Thought and Action, by Idries Shah.

Mar 22, 2019

Paradise of Song

Ahangar was a mighty swordsmith who lived in one of Afghanistan's remote eastern valleys. In time of peace he made steel ploughs, shoed horses and, above all, he sang.

The songs of Ahangar, who is known by different names in various parts of Central Asia, were eagerly listened to by the people of the valleys. They came from the forests of giant walnuts trees, from the snowcapped Hindu-Kush, from Qataghan and Badakhshan, from Khanabad and Kunar, from Herat and Paghman, to hear his songs.

Above all, the people came to hear the song of all songs, which was Ahangar's Song of the Valley of Paradise.

This song had a haunting quality, and a strange lilt, and most of all it had a story which was so strange that people felt they knew the remote Valley of Paradise of which the smith sang. Often they asked him to sing it when he was not in the mood to do so, and he would refuse. Sometimes people asked him whether the Valley was truly real, and Ahangar could only say:

"The Valley of the Song is as real as real can be."

"But how do you know?" the people would ask, "Have you ever been there?"

To Ahangar, and to nearly all the people who heard him, the Valley of the Song was, however, real, real as real can be.

Aisha, a local maiden whom he loved, doubted whether there was such a place. So, too, did Hasan, a braggart and fearsome swordsman who swore to marry Aisha, and who lost no opportunity of laughing at the smith.

One day, when the villagers were sitting around silently after Ahangar had been telling his tale to them, Hasan spoke:

"If you believe that this valley is so real, and that it is, as you say, in those mountains of Sangan yonder, where the blue haze rises, why do you not try to find it?".

"It would not be right, I know that," said Ahangar.

"You know what it is convenient to know, and do not know what you do not want to know!" shouted Hasan. "Now, my friend, I propose a test. You love Aisha, but she does not trust you. She has no faith in this absurd Valley of yours. You could never marry her, because when there is no confidence between man and wife, they are not happy and all manner of evils result."

"Do you expect me to go to the valley, then?" asked Ahangar.

"Yes," said Hasan and all the audience together.

"If I go and return safely, will Aisha consent to marry me?" asked Ahangar.

"Yes," murmured Aisha.

So Ahangar, collecting some dried mulberries and a scrap of bread, set off for the distant mountains.

He climbed and climbed, until he came to a wall which encircled the entire range. When he had ascended its sheer sides, there was another wall, even more precipitous then the first. After that there was a third, then a fourth, and finally a fifth wall.

Descending on the other side, Ahangar found that he was in a valley, strikingly similar to his own.

People came out to welcome him, and as he saw them, Ahangar realized that something very strange was happening.

Months later, Ahangar the Smith, walking like an old man, limped into his native village, and made for his humble hut.

As word of his return spread throughout the countryside, people gathered in front of his home to hear what his adventures had been.

Hasan the swordsman spoke for them all, and called Ahangar to his window.

There was a gasp as everyone saw how old he had become.

"Well, Master Ahangar, and did you reach the Valley of Paradise?"

"I did."

"And what was it like?"

Ahangar, fumbling for his words, looked at the assembled people with a weariness and hopelessness that he had never felt before. He said:

"I climbed and I climbed, and I climbed. When it seemed as though there could be no human habitation in such a desolate place, and after many trials and disappointments, I came upon a valley. This valley was exactly like the one in which we live. And then I saw the people. Those people are not only like us people: they are the same people.For every Hasan, every Aisha, every Ahangar, every anybody whom we have here, there is another one, exactly the same in that valley."

"These are likenesses and reflections to us, when we see such things. But it is we who are the likeness and reflection of them -- we who are here, we are their twins..."

Everyone thought that Ahangar had gone mad through his privations, and Aisha married Hasan the swordsman. Ahangar rapidly grew old and died. And all the people, every one who had heard this story from the lips of Ahangar, first lost heart in their lives, then grew old and died, for they felt that something was going to happen over which they had no control and from which they had no hope, and so they lost interest in life itself.

It is only once in a thousand years that this secret is seen by man. When he sees it, he is changed. When he tells its bare facts to others, they wither and die out.

People think that such an event is a catastrophe, and so they must not know about it, for they cannot understand [such is the nature of their ordinary life] that they have more selves than one, more hopes than one, more chances than one -- up there, in the Paradise of the Song of Ahangar, the mighty smith.

Mar 21, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features selections of The Secret Lore of Magic, by Idries Shah.

Mar 12, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features selections of Destination Mecca, by Idries Shah.

 
Mar 8, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features one of the ISF children's books, Speak First and Lose.

Very often we urge our children not to be stubborn, not to sulk, not to bear a grudge, to know when to reach a compromise. But what would happen if we all refused to be as reasonable and as rational as we are asking children to be?

Speak First and Lose shows us what could happen if adults failed to resolve their differences in an intelligent, thoughtful way.

But surely grown men and women would never allow themselves to get snarled up by such trivial matters?

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our first three children's books. These books have been beautifully illustrated, and made possible through very generous donations for which we are extremely grateful. All proceeds from the sales of the children’s books (and our other special and limited editions) are ring-fenced for the Books for Afghan Children Project.

Mar 5, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features selections of The Hundred Tales of Wisdom, by Idries Shah.

Mar 1, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features one of the ISF children's books, The Ants and the Pen.

Surely scientific scrutiny must be the only worthwhile form of research worthy of our modern times? After all, science builds on information that has been gathered and rigourously tested before. Science stretches the boundaries of our knowledge and moves us towards that which would once have been little more than a figment of our imagination.

But what does scientific fact actually tell us? Does it always offer a full explanation, or could it simply be a mere part of the key needed to unlock a far more elaborate and far-reaching puzzle?

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our first three children's books. These books have been beautifully illustrated, and made possible through very generous donations for which we are extremely grateful. All proceeds from the sales of the children’s books (and our other special and limited editions) are ring-fenced for the Books for Afghan Children Project.

Feb 26, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features a selection of A Perfumed Scorpion, by Idries Shah.

Feb 22, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features one of the ISF children's books, The Onion.

When we come across something new, something alien to our everyday, our first impulse is often to rush to make sense of that unknown object, or situation or phenomenon. In our haste to understand fast, we jump to conclusions before we have spared the time to make more than the most superficial observations.

Were we to give ourselves more time, we would no doubt learn more, experience more deeply, or manage to discuss our findings with those around us.

But even if we were to take time, our inbuilt distrust of what we do not understand could cause us to discard or distrust the new or unknown, rather than welcoming the opportunity to add something novel to our lives.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our first three children's books. These books have been beautifully illustrated, and made possible through very generous donations for which we are extremely grateful. All proceeds from the sales of the children’s books (and our other special and limited editions) are ring-fenced for the Books for Afghan Children Project.

Feb 19, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features selections of Special Illumination: The Sufi Use of Humour, by Idries Shah.

Feb 15, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode, the second in our Cultural Crossroads series, features an interview with Erik Weihenmayer.

During his lifetime Idries Shah promoted contacts and connections between different traditions around the world, believing this to be an important element in the advancement of human culture. In this spirit, The Idries Shah Foundation has created ‘Cultural Crossroads’, a website forum where people from many walks of life are invited to talk about their own experiences crossing cultural boundaries, and the lessons that they have learned as a result. You can find these articles on the ISF blog. This is our first Cultural Crossroads interview for this podcast.

About Erik Weihenmayer

On May 25, 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. In 2008 he climbed Carstensz Pyramid on the island of Papua New Guinea, completing the Seven Summits, the highest point on every continent. This accomplishment closed the circuit on a 13-year journey that had begun with his 1995 ascent of Denali. He is joined by a select company of only 150 mountaineers to have accomplished the feat.

Feb 12, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features selections of Learning How to Learn, by Idries Shah.

 
Feb 8, 2019
 

The Tale of the Sands

A stream, from its source in far-off mountains, passing through every kind and description of countryside, at last reached the sands of the desert. Just as it had crossed every other barrier, the stream tried to cross this one, but it found that as fast as it ran into the sand, its waters disappeared.

It was convinced, however, that its destiny was to cross this desert, and yet there was no way. Now a hidden voice, coming from the desert itself, whispered: “The Wind crosses the desert, and so can the stream.”

 The stream objected that it was dashing itself against the sand, and only getting absorbed: that the wind could fly, and this was why it could cross a desert.

“By hurtling in your own accustomed way you cannot get across. You will either disappear or become a marsh. You must allow the wind to carry you over, to your destination.”

“But how could this happen?”

“By allowing yourself to be absorbed in the wind.”

This idea was not acceptable to the stream. After all, it had never been absorbed before. It did not want to lose its individuality. And, once having lost it, how was one to know that it could ever be regained?

“The wind,” said the sand, “performs this function. It takes up water, carries it over the desert, and then lets it fall again. Falling as rain, the water again becomes a river.”

“How can I know that this is true?”

“It is so, and if you do not believe it, you cannot become more than a quagmire, and even that could take many, many years; and it certainly is not the same as a stream.”

“But can I not remain the same stream that I am today?”

“You cannot in either case remain so,” the whisper said. “Your essential part is carried away and forms a stream again. You are called what you are even today because you do not know which part of you is the essential one.”

Feb 5, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features selections of Neglected Aspects of Sufi Studies, by Idries Shah.

 
Jan 31, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features selections of Oriental Magic, by Idries Shah.

Jan 24, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features selections of Seeker After Truth, by Idries Shah.

Jan 17, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features a selection of World Tales, by Idries Shah.

 
Jan 12, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode, the first in our Cultural Crossroads series, features an interview with Guy Stagg.

During his lifetime Idries Shah promoted contacts and connections between different traditions around the world, believing this to be an important element in the advancement of human culture. In this spirit, The Idries Shah Foundation has created ‘Cultural Crossroads’, a website forum where people from many walks of life are invited to talk about their own experiences crossing cultural boundaries, and the lessons that they have learned as a result. You can find these articles on the ISF blog. This is our first Cultural Crossroads interview for this podcast.

About Guy Stagg

Guy Stagg was born in 1988 and grew up in Paris, Heidelberg, Yorkshire and London. He read English at Trinity College, Cambridge, and on graduating worked in politics and journalism. In 2013 he walked from Canterbury to Jerusalem. The Crossway, an account of this journey, will be published by Picador in 2018. An extract from the book was shortlisted for the inaugural Deborah Rogers Foundation Award. You can learn more about him at www.guystagg.co.uk.

Jan 10, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features a selection of The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin, by Idries Shah.

 
Jan 3, 2019

Welcome to the Idries Shah Foundation podcast, practical psychology for today. This weekly podcast features selections from Idries Shah books, as well as original recordings. It has been made available by The Idries Shah Foundation, and is voiced by David Ault. This episode features a selection of Sufi Thought and Action, by Idries Shah.

 
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